Budding artists discover college could put them on the path to success

S6 Pupils with dreams of making a big impact in Art and Design have experienced life as a Daydream Believer, spending time at Edinburgh College’s School of Art and Design to learn about the various paths to career success in the Creative industries.

As part of Lothians Equal Access Programme for Schools’ (LEAPS) Creative Extras week, eight pupils visited the College to learn about the creative processes used by leading design agencies first-hand from students who work closely with industry throughout their time at the College.

LEAPS is a widening participation programme, funded by higher education institutions and local council partners to increase progression to higher education in South East Scotland.

The organisation aims to encourage and advise students who are traditionally under-represented in further and higher education and works with 59 schools throughout South East Scotland, supporting pupils who match LEAPS eligibility criteria.

Creative Extras week is aimed specifically at those interested in Art and Design careers and this year marks Edinburgh College’s first practical involvement in the week of events.

During their visit to the College, the pupils learned that problem solving and critical thinking are some of the most sought-after skills in the job market today, and, as designers they become problem solvers.

Those problem solving skills were put to the test in a design challenge using processes including Double Diamond and Crazy 8 which are used by some of the biggest agencies in the world.

In teams, the S6s were tasked with brainstorming everyday problems that many people face and working through the design process with their creative partners to arrive at a workable solution.

Example problems included losing the ‘squishy bits’ on earphones and becoming lost as a tourist in a busy city with no mobile phone battery or knowledge of the area.

Each team then presented their work to the Student Ambassadors who then provided detailed feedback on each team’s ideas.

Edinburgh College curriculum manager for Art and Design Neil Manning said: “It’s been fantastic to have been a part of LEAPS’ Creative Extras Week and to have worked with this group of pupils who demonstrated such an enthusiasm for Art and Design.

“We’ve all been really impressed by the level of their work and their ability to think freely and creatively in their approach to the everyday problems they identified.

“This has been a wonderful opportunity to work with LEAPS on their Creative Extras week as well as presenting to the whole group of S6 pupils the benefits of the college route to university and employment. I am confident that this can be the beginning of a fruitful partnership which allows young people to see the various progression routes available to them by coming to study at College.”

LEAPS Development Officer Richard Kerr said: “Neil and his team of Student Ambassadors at Edinburgh College were so generous, both with their expertise and with their time. The pupils were given a tour of the College facilities, which was greatly appreciated, and the student-led focus of the workshop which followed created the ideal atmosphere for the pupils to collaborate with the current HN students. It was the perfect opportunity for pupils to get a true feel for what it would be like to study higher education art and design courses at college – a great addition to the LEAPS Creative Extras programme, and a warm thanks to Edinburgh College for hosting us.”